WASHINGTON -- The Internal Revenue Service now has an official mission statement emphasizing that "service" is its primary job.
In another step toward becoming more taxpayer-friendly, the IRS announced Thursday a new statement that will be featured on its 1998 tax publications, displayed at IRS offices and put on its Internet Web site.
The statement says that the IRS mission is to "provide America's taxpayers top quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and by applying the tax law with integrity and fairness to all."
This replaces a 1980s statement in which the first line stated that the IRS's main job was to "collect the proper amount of tax revenue at the least cost."
"Words alone aren't going to change the IRS, but this serves an important purpose," said IRS Commissioner Charles O. Rossotti. "The mission statement will be a reminder that we must be dedicated on a day-in, day-out basis to serving taxpayers."
The change is one of many that have followed passage in Congress of an IRS reform law aimed at moving the agency away from its heavy-handed past.